Jane and The Year Without a Summer by Stephanie Barron- Book review and Blog Tour

I’m so pleased to be part of the blog tour for the Austensque, historical fiction Jane and The Year Without a Summer by Stephanie Barron.

  • Series: Being a Jane Austen Mystery (Book 14)
  • Genre:Historical Mystery, Austenesque

May 1816: Jane Austen is feeling unwell, with an uneasy stomach, constant fatigue, rashes, fevers and aches. She attributes her poor condition to the stress of family burdens, which even the drafting of her latest manuscript—about a baronet’s daughter nursing a broken heart for a daring naval captain—cannot alleviate. Her apothecary recommends a trial of the curative waters at Cheltenham Spa, in Gloucestershire. Jane decides to use some of the profits earned from her last novel, Emma, and treat herself to a period of rest and reflection at the spa, in the company of her sister, Cassandra.
 
Cheltenham Spa hardly turns out to be the relaxing sojourn Jane and Cassandra envisaged, however. It is immediately obvious that other boarders at the guest house where the Misses Austen are staying have come to Cheltenham with stresses of their own—some of them deadly. But perhaps with Jane’s interference a terrible crime might be prevented. Set during the Year without a Summer, when the eruption of Mount Tambora in the South Pacific caused a volcanic winter that shrouded the entire planet for sixteen months, this fourteenth installment in Stephanie Barron’s critically acclaimed series brings a forgotten moment of Regency history to life.

PURCHASE LINKS

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Review

I can’t believe I haven’t come across The Being Jane Austen Mystery series by Stephanie Barron before I took part in the Jane and the Year without Summer blog tour, the fourteenth book in the series.

The book is told in the first person from Jane’s Austen point of view and I felt like I was seeing the world with her eyes. Jane’s voice is strong, confident, with a sense of humour and her attitude is in keeping with the times.

Continue reading “Jane and The Year Without a Summer by Stephanie Barron- Book review and Blog Tour”

Absynthe by Brendan Bellecourt – Book review

I enjoyed this Art Deco, historical Science Fiction by Brendan Bellecourt. In the alternate America of Absynthe, where reality isn’t what it seems.

Source: Bought by me

Liam Mulcahey suffers from amnesia and can remember every little of his life before the war but his best friend Morgan and his grandmother are there to help through this. Liam settles into post-war technologically advanced America which is still under threat from its enemies. But one day  Morgan suggests a trip to Club Artemis to cheer Liam up and he reluctantly agrees. So, Liam finds himself drinking Absynthe, a powerful hallucinogenic along with Morgan but his view of the world changes forever and everything he has ever cared about is in danger.

Review

This is a hard book to summarise- there is so much going on and to go into details would be spoiling the story.

I haven’t read many science fiction books set in the 1920s and I think the time feels right for this story.

This story is told from Liam point of view in the third person but he is slightly unreliable as a character as he can’t remember and can’t trust his own memories. He is a sympathetic character and his plight and confusion are believable ( as I imagine anyone’s would be when they discover their reality is not what it should be).

I couldn’t put the book down when I first started it- the first few chapters are quick-paced, full of mystery and I had to know what was going on. But then the pace slows down for the science part and I did find this a little repetitive and perhaps we didn’t need so much detail. Luckily the action picks up towards the end and I had to keep reading as the twists and surprises keep popping up.

The worldbuilding in the book is impressive. A perfect blend of Art Deco, post-war fatigue and steampunk-ish technology including fast trains, androids and futuristic weapons. But while the societal attitudes towards women, the poor, mental illness and people of colour are realistic, they are given are science fiction twist.

Content warning

Violence, medical experimentation, rape fantasy, death of a child ( off-page)

Perfect for fans

Who love steampunk and good old fashioned science-fiction tale.

Summary

Four Stars- a riveting read with some amazing world-building.